October 19, 2014 |
Cara Schneider Bongiorno and her husband, Charles Bongiorno, a physician, are true Philadelphians: They've made the most of their 20-by-12-foot concrete back yard by converting it into a graceful garden and May-through-November party space with seating. Many city residents rely on a concrete pad behind their homes to serve as their "outdoors. " The Bongiornos were determined to bring true green to their space and to decorate it in a way that would be inviting for a barbecue with friends, a glass of wine in the evenings after work, or just a quiet refuge.
July 5, 2014 |
The seeds of Meei-Ling Ng's future life as an artist and urban farmer in Philadelphia were planted early, and far away, in the village of Lim Chu Kang, in a rural corner of Singapore. With three siblings, she grew up on a five-acre farm, where the family grew orchids, raised ducks, turkeys, chickens, and pigs, and pets - cats, dogs, rabbits, parrots - were plentiful. "It was heaven for us," recalls Ng, pronounced ung , who smiles wistfully at the memory of her grandmother's rambutan, mango, coconut, and jackfruit trees.
January 28, 2014
I LOVE LOVE Park. It's not perfect - few things are in Philly - but it is a gem. The iconic Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture frames a view up the Parkway to the Art Museum that could compete with any cityscape. It's a Philadelphia classic that attracts camera-toting visitors day and night. The main thing wrong with LOVE Park is not the design, but the people - the ones who litter (attracting rats), the ones who skateboard (scarring surfaces and cracking tiles) and the serenity-shattering panhandlers.
September 21, 2012 |
A TODDLER in a blue baseball cap sat Wednesday in a stroller eating ice cream in West Philadelphia. His mother sat next to him in an orange bistro chair. Only six months ago, right where the pair were relaxing in the late-summer sun, cars and buses whizzed through what was a traffic triangle at 42nd Street and Woodland Avenue. Now the triangle is blocked off by large wooden planters filled with flowers and trees, and a small, dangerous "redundant" street has been removed to create a new minipark.
November 1, 2011 |
What a way to start National Peanut Butter Month. Following one of the worst peanut harvests in decades, peanut butter prices are shooting up. CNNMoney reports that Kraft is raising prices for its Planters brand peanut butter by 40 percent while ConAgra has already increased the price for its Peter Pan by 20 percent. ( http://cnnmon.ie/rvtoiT ) J.M. Smucker, the maker of Jif, will hike prices by about 30 percent, CNNMoney says. No word yet from Unilever on pricing for its Skippy brand.
May 13, 2011
Near the end of her recent lecture at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Andrea Wulf touched on the role slavery played in the agrarian and horticultural lives of our nation's early presidents. Too bad it came at the end of her talk. It's one of the most fascinating parts of her new book Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation (Alfred A. Knopf, $30). For while she deftly conveys the idea that George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison were passionate to the point of obsession about their fields, crops, seeds, and - as they say in the trade nowadays - "ornamentals and edibles," Wulf also lays out the details of a disquieting and not altogether unfamiliar truth: that, for three of those presidents, a belief in liberty and equality coexisted with slave ownership.
May 7, 2010 |
Are you a scavenger? If you are, maybe you'll be lucky enough to find a Radio Flyer stuffed into a city trash bin, as we did. It was old and rusty and could barely move. We grabbed it. If not, you may want to hold on to some of your other junk for use along your garden paths, patios and porches. With the help of a garden center, the red wagon was transformed into a lavish garden centerpiece, filled with annuals, perennials, and herbs. You can personalize your garden with old junky items scavenged from basements, garage sales, and flea markets.
April 23, 2010 |
Today, April 23, generally is acknowledged as William Shakespeare's birthday, though many zealous bardolators and academic types quibble over this and virtually every other detail of the enigmatic Bard's life and works. Whether or not this is the date, it is poetically apropos to believe the great Bard's birthday would fall amid the first stirrings of spring, when nature awakens from her wintry slumber, flora comes to life in a profusion of colors and scents and fauna frolic about the garden.
April 4, 2010 |
It sounds a bit like a pet rock for gardeners, but consumers seem to love the upside-down Topsy Turvy tomato planter, which has been sprouting all over the marketplace. Bill Felknor, a folksy inventor from Knoxville, Tenn., has sold millions of his curious creations since they first appeared on QVC in 2003 - more than seven million last year alone, making it one of the most popular gardening products ever introduced. "I give the good Lord 100 percent of the credit," Felknor said of his "hanging gardens," which grow tomatoes out the bottom of a soil-filled bag and are watered from the top. Skeptics (there are many)
June 5, 2008 |
Falling tomato plants have injured 155 Americans so far this year as China-built stands for growing the fruit in hanging bags have collapsed on gardeners and bystanders, federal officials said. The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced yesterday a recall of 82,000 Topsy-Turvy Deluxe Tomato Planters and Stands. The devices were imported by Allstar Marketing Group L.L.C., of Hawthorne, N.Y., and sold by Liberty Media Holding Corp.'s QVC Inc. division, of West Chester, through its TV and Internet programs and stores, for $30 each in March and April.